(NO LONGER A PLAY)
Photos by Dylan Lopez
Special thanks to The Brick, The Bushwick Starr, New Georges, The Broadway Green Alliance, Holly Chayes, David Bengali and Anshuman Bhatia, Dan Kent, New York Theatre Workshop
And very special thanks to our workshop participants and performers who helped us develop PLUTO from the ground up: Kairika Al Sinani, Vanessa Pereda-Felix, Lanxing Fu, Ben Gunderson, Julia Levine, Amanda Murphy, Katey Parker, Shawn Shafner, Jessica Smyth, Alyssa Trombitas
PLUTO is an allegory about extinction... or it used to be, maybe. Three humans attempt to give a presentation about the remains of a play that no longer exists. The fragments seem to suggest the story of a unicorn, a hunter, and a wizard, all struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Facing similar dilemmas, the three humans reenact their findings, searching for hope among the bones.
Is a "doomed species" worth fighting for?
artists & history
Co-created by Jonathan Camuzeuax, William Cook, Lani Fu, Nikki Holck, Megan McClain, and Jeremy Pickard
Directed and Written by Jeremy Pickard and Lanxing Fu
Performed by William Cook*, Lanxing Fu, Brittany N. Williams*, and Courtney Williams
Lighting Design by Jay Maury
Sound Designer and Music Producer Trevor New
Music composed by Jonathan Camuzeaux
Choreography by Nikki Holck
Dramaturgy by Megan McClain
Project advisors: Sergio Botero and Una Chaudhuri
PLUTO premiered in May 2017 at The Brick in NYC. It was developed over the course of December 2015-December 2016, thanks to Creative Space grants from ART/NY and residencies with Stony Brook University and Lacawac Wildlife Sanctuary & Field Station.
From dramaturge megan mcclain
Scientists suggest we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in Earth’s history. Unlike other mass extinctions, this current crisis is caused almost entirely by people. Human activities impact 99% of currently threatened species. Extinction is natural, but scientists estimate this rapid loss of species is happening at between 1,000 and 10,000 times the normal rate. Ways to prevent further damage would involve decreasing pollution of all kinds (chemical, sound, light), reducing our contribution to climate change, and protecting and restoring wild areas. It would also require a serious recalibration in our thinking to consider the future of the world from outside of our anthropocentric point of view. How do we balance the fact that humans are a part of nature and extinctions are part of the constant adaptation of life, while taking accountability for our role in severely decreasing biodiversity on the planet? While we’re busy lighting fires to thrive and survive, what else might we be permanently extinguishing?
What do we do with what Per Espen Stoknes calls the "Great Grief" that comes with facing the rapid disappearance of species and irrevocable changes to ecosystems on our planet? Stoknes suggests we open ourselves up to mourn collectively, to move through the anger and indifference and sit in a space of loss. And from this place, perhaps we can find the strength together to look for new ways forward.
Jonathan Camuzeaux (Co-Creator/Composer) is a French-American musician, theater artist, photographer and environmentalist. Jonathan is the Co-Artistic Director of Kaimera Productions and a core member of Superhero Clubhouse. He created the multi-disciplinary photography project Stack of Fives and is the resident music director for The Live Lunch Series, as well as the bassist for the Brooklyn-based soul band Lady Moon & The Eclipse. Jonathan holds a Master of Jazz History from Bordeaux III University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. By day, he works at Environmental Defense Fund in New York.
William Cook (Performer) has worked with Superhero Clubhouse on Mars (A Play about Mining), Saturn (A Play about Food), as well as Sci-Art Labs, Big Green Theater, and other development projects. He appreciates how SHC foregrounds climate issues in creating work for their audiences. He has performed in regional and professional theaters around the country. Training: SITI Company, Shakespeare & Co., HB Studio, and T. Schreiber Studio. Deepest gratitude to David.
Lanxing Fu (Co-Creator/Assistant Director/Writer) is a Chinese-American writer, director, and performer. In addition to being a lead administrator, Lani is the project director for the Living Stage and a co-creator of PLUTO and JUPITER. She holds a B.A. in Humanities, Science, and Environment and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech. She has collaborated and led interdisciplinary theater projects about contemporary consumerism, globalization, and the environment in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Turkey, and the United States, with work commissioned by Virginia's New River Valley Planning District and a grant from The Center for 21st Century Studies. In 2015, Lanxing was selected to participate in JACK's "Creating Dangerously" workshop (led by Virginia Grise and Kyla Searle), and was a member of Orchard Project's 2015 Core Company.
Nikki Holck (Choreographer) is a dance artist, choreographer, and teacher based in New York. She was trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and Canada's National Ballet School, after which she began her dance career with the National Ballet of Canada. Upon moving to New York with intentions of focusing on contemporary dance, Ms. Holckjoined Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and began a close collaboration with Artistic Director Igal Perry and the choreographer Korhan Basaran, both that continue on today. Ms. Holck currently splits her time between New York and Istanbul, where she teaches, choreographs, and performs both original and others’ work.
Emma Johnson (Stage Manager) is a Brooklyn-based stage and production manager, specializing in reinterpretations of classical texts and the creation of new works in collaborative, devised settings. Receiving training at SUNY Oswego, the New York Theatre Workshop, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, she also works regularly at the Public Theater in various capacities as well as with Target Margin Theater and at the New York Theatre Workshop. She is also a photographer and poet with a seasonal green thumb.
Jay Maury (Lighting Designer) is a sound, lighting, video, and scenery designer working out of Brooklyn. As the designer of the Bushwick Starr infrastructure and equipment, he has been working to raise the standards for control, efficiency, and artistic possibilities. Notably, BWS is now running ultra-efficient LED worklight system with unparalleled control and light coverage. Recent design credits include Yackez (Video Design), Saratoga Opera (Sound Design, Lighting Design), BAWeaselOAPOYOB (Lighting Design) at Jack, and Superhero Clubhouse's JUPITER (Solar Lighting Design) & Big Green Theater (Lights) and BWS annual puppet festival (Lights & Media). www.thebushwickstarr.org
Megan McClain (Co-Creator/Dramaturg) is the Resident Dramaturg for Superhero Clubhouse's series of Planet Plays, Flying Ace, and other projects. She also leads the R&D Writing Group for The Civilians and works at The Lark. Megan has developed new work during artist residencies at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Drama League, NACL Theatre, Catwalk Institute, and LMCC. Dramaturgical support/literary work for Goodman Theatre, Disney Theatrical, Hartford Stage, PoNY, Playwrights Realm, LMDA, Target Margin, New Georges, and PlayPenn. M.F.A Dramaturgy: UMass Amherst.
Trevor New’s (Sound Designer) work as a sound designer, engineer/producer, and performer can be found in a variety of media, including film scores, arranging, electronic music, TV, and in his newly release album “New Flow” music for yoga and meditation. Trevor also performs classical and contemporary music as a soloist, original music playing his viola and singing, and electronic music using Ableton Live for looping and effects. He plays Yoga workshops around Brooklyn and the Northeast, and will be releasing a vocal album later this year. Find more of his music at www.trevornew.com.
Jeremy Pickard (Co-Creator/Director/Writer) founded Superhero Clubhouse in 2007, and has since become a leading voice on theater and environmentalism. In 2015 his essay "On Eco-Theater" was published by TCG in the book Innovations in Five Acts, edited by Caridad Svich. Jeremy is the lead playwright, co-creator, and co-director of the Planet Play series, Flying Ace and the Storm of the Century, and Salty Folk. He remains the Program and Production Director for the annual Big Green Theater Festival, which he co-created with Maria Portman Kelly and The Bushwick Starr in 2009. Originally from a small town outside Syracuse, NY, Jeremy is an alumnus of Ithaca College and the National Theater Institute, and trained extensively with SITI Company for eight years. He wears many hats including director, performer, writer, and producer.
Cassiope Sydoriak (Assistant Stage Manager) is an Events, Theater, and Dance Producer and Creative Director living in Brooklyn. Since receiving her Masters degree in Art History from Oxford University in 2012, she has started a successful business teaching bicycle mechanics, worked in premium whiskey marketing, and choreographed for Darkfest at The Tank NYC. She has been teaching Lindy Hop since 2007, founded the Oxford Swing Festival, performed with the Hotfoot Strutters in London, and once had a 0.5 second appearance as an extra in a Guinness commercial. Most recently, she was the ASM for Superhero Clubhouse’s 2017 Big Green Theater Festival at the Bushwick Starr.
Bailey Williams (Producer) is a producer, writer, performer and sometime associate literary agent of dead German playwrights and others. Productions include SKI END by Piehole at the New Ohio Theatre (through May 19), Your Hair Looked Great by Tiny Little Band at Abrons Arts Center, Alex Rodabaugh’s AmeriSHOWZ at American Realness/Gibney Dance, and On a Clear Day I Can See To Elba by Eliza Bent at ICE Factory 2016.
Brittany Williams (Performer) Unimpressed Shakespearean Blerd, Belter of High Notes, & a New Yorker by way of Baltimore, DC, Hong Kong, and London. Favorite credits: Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Nansi – Helen Hayes Award Nom.), Mac Rogers Universal Robots (Helena), Antony and Cleopatra (Soothsayer/Clown), & Lear (Cordelia/Fight Captain). MA: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama; BFA: Howard University. Twitter & Instagram: @BrittanyActs www.brittanynwilliams.com
Courtney Gabrielle Williams (Performer) Courtney loves working on pieces that show complex and diverse stories that encourage conversation with the present times. Theater credits include: Pussy Sludge (HERE Arts Center), Beyond the Horizon (The Brick Theater),The Clockwork Boy (Hudson Guild Theatre),The Voyeurs (Saturdays at Brooklyn Bridge Park), The Tear Drinkers (The Kitchen NYC), Go Forth (PS122 Coil Festival). Educational : The Owl Answers (Daniel Alexander Jones), Agamemnon (Tea Alagic), Ruined (Isis Misdary). Theater BA Fordham University. courtneygwilliams.com.